Board of Directors
Brooke Abola, President
Brooke Abola is the proud parent of two BlueSkies graduates and has served as Co-Chair of the Parent Scholarship Committee for the past three years. She currently works as a Deputy City Attorney in the Office of the San Francisco City Attorney and has spent her legal career advising public agencies on finance-related matters. Prior to the City, Brooke was a Senior Counsel at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. She has spent significant time on pro bono work for education-oriented nonprofits, including Appleseed, the Oakland Small Schools Foundation, and the Funding the Next Generation initiative. Before law school, she taught English Language Learners at Castlemont High School in Oakland as a Teach for America Corps Member. She enjoys cooking, hiking, bridge and karaoke.
Murali Naidu - Vice President
Lisa Freitas, Secretary
Bryan Quevedo, Treasurer
Bryan Quevedo has a decade of public sector management service, with experience in budgeting, finance, grants, assessment, and strategic planning. He is currently a Policy & Planning Analyst with the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Bryan previously managed the administration and finances of the City of Berkeley’s Department of Public Works, analyzed the credit profiles of western local governments for a major ratings agency, managed NYPD’s budget for the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget, and provided nonprofit technical assistance in El Paso, Texas. He holds a Masters in Public Policy from the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy and a B.A. in Economics & Philosophy from Claremont McKenna College. Bryan is married to Araceli Martínez-Olguín, a civil rights attorney. Their daughter Adela is a member of the Playroom, a Hamilton super fan, and an enthusiastic supporter of the musical arts.
Claire Bainer, BlueSkies Administration
Claire Bainer has been the Co-Director of BlueSkies for Children since 1995. With her mother, Anne Copenhagen, she was part of the founding group of educators who started the school in 1980 and joined the teaching team there in 1987. She carries primary responsibility for the programs, facilities, and fundraising, with special expertise in the preschool programs; she completed her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Mills College in 1975. She enjoys teaching part time at Mills College and local Community Colleges and helping the field of early childhood education grow Claire participates on committees throughout the Oakland bay area. She is the co-author of Second Home: A Day in the Life of a Model Early Childhood Program and has written and created many booklets and teacher training DVDs . Claire has two grown children: a daughter living in Australia and a son whose two children attend BlueSkies.
- First grade teacher, North Chicago Ill
- Head Start teacher, Chicago Ill
- Infant-toddler teacher, Peralta Community College District, Oakland CA
- Pre-school teacher, Peralta Community College District
- Teacher-Director, Blue Fairyland Child Development Center, Berkeley CA
- Parent counselor, administrator, adult education coordinator, BANANAS Child Care Resource and Referral, Oakland CA
- County Child Care Coordinator and Child Care Planning Council Staff, Alameda County CA
- Early Care and Education Director, First 5 Commission, Alameda County
- Adjunct college instructor at Diablo Valley and Chabot Community Colleges, San Francisco State University, Mills College
- Co-founder of the California School Age Consortium and the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, UC Berkeley
Rory has written numerous reports, articles, booklets, and curricula on early childhood education (ECE) and has been a strong advocate at local, state, and national levels for quality ECE and family support services. She has conducted workshops, conference presentations and key notes, and developed innovative higher education and training programs for ECE staff. She has received an “Alameda County Woman of the Year” award from Alameda County Health Foundation and an “Outstanding Manager” award from the County Executive. She has a BA in Education and English, and received a Bush Foundation Fellowship from the University of Minnesota for graduate work in Inter-Disciplinary Studies.
Christa Edwards is Head Teacher in the Baby House and Assistant Program Director at BlueSkies. She is responsible, under the direction of the Hedco Program Director, for curriculum development, staff development and management, and the development and cultivation of strong, positive, cooperative relationships with families beginning and/or continuing at BlueSkies. Previously she worked in publishing as an Editorial Assistant and then as a Production Editor. She also has done some public relations work. She received a B.A. in Classics from Scripps College including a term at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and has since acquired an additional 27 Early Childhood Education units from Cerro Coso College. She lives in the Temescal district of Oakland with her husband, and spends her free time camping, reading, playing games, interior decorating, occasionally exercising, and being a new mom!
Maggie Greenblatt is currently the Coordinator of the Hospital School Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland (BCHO) where she has worked since 1986. Her first eleven years at the hospital she served as a Child Life Specialist in which she focused on facilitating healthy adaptation to hospitalization through education and psychosocial interventions. Working in the Child Life Dept. requires a foundation in Child Development as well as understanding and advocating for patients as they navigate the intricacies of the hospital environment while they face a myriad of issues related to illness and potentially prolonged hospital stays. In 1997, Maggie returned to Mills College to gain her Multiple Subjects teaching credential. After completion of this program (1998), she went back to the BCHO to work in the Hospital School Program, one of several programs under the umbrella of the Child Life Department. Maggie has long been a champion of quality education for ill children and is currently a member of the Association for the Education of Children with Medical Needs (AECMN). Her son, Aaron is an alumna from the 1999 class and Maggie attributes much of his continued preference for group based learning to his early experiences with the phenomenal teaching staff at BlueSkies. He recently graduated from University of Oregon. She and her husband, Shinei Tsukamoto enjoy hiking, cooking, traveling and a nice network of friends. She is close to a number of BlueSkies parents from Aaron’s class. During their periodic gatherings she has felt first-hand that a good preschool environment supports and fosters life-long friendships between the parents as well as those of the children.
Riana Hensel is a Kindergarten teacher at The Academy of Alameda. She is beginning her ninth year teaching this fall. Riana has the distinguished pleasure of being the first AOCS (the former name of BlueSkies) alumna to serve on the Board of Directors! In fact, she is still friends with some of her classmates from 30 years ago. Her journey as an educator has seen her teaching every age from 2.5 year-olds to Seniors in High School. Her love of young children was cultivated during her two years teaching at Hilltop Children’s Center, a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool in Seattle, and solidified during her Master’s work at Mills College. Riana reconnected with her Oakland roots while working on a Teaching Credential and Master’s at Mills, focusing her studies on issues of race and racism writing a thesis titled, “A Qualitative Interview Study of Teachers’ Experiences Addressing Race and Racism in Their Early Childhood Classrooms.” She lives in a co-op in the Elmwood neighborhood of Berkeley and enjoys cooking, being outdoors, listening to audio books narrated by Australians, exploring the world and spending time with her 101 year old grandma.